Platinum and Palladium Prices Continue To Wax and Wane

Published on March 19, 2018

According to the March 23, 2018 Platinum Market Review, Platinum prices continue to struggle with the metal trading in a range of $940 to $970 an ounce since the start of March, down from the January high of $1,030 an ounce.

A lackluster gold price, a softer palladium price, fear of a pending US rate hike and concerns for diminishing driver preferences for diesel-powered engines have kept prices on the defensive. The proportion of new diesel cars sold in the EU fell to a 14-year low in 2017 with a 44.4% market share. However, efforts by manufacturers are underway to produce clean diesel technology that complies, without the use of defeat device software, with all local and national regulations which could render the prognosis for the death of diesel a bit premature.

The move to restrict older, and more polluting diesel cars from many city centers across Europe may actually have a positive effect on diesel sales as drivers may choose to replace offending models with newer, more efficient and cleaner diesels.

Moreover, platinum demand for use in the automotive sector should continue to increase despite lower diesel sales as overall vehicle production worldwide is projected to rise again this year, a function of the continued growth of the global economy. 

Palladium prices crossed above the $1,000 an ounce mark but only briefly before being rebuffed once again by a wave of selling which pushed prices lower. The metal has been able to sustain a $40 premium to platinum but has continued to trade in light volumes mostly in a range of $960 to $1,000 an ounce over the past two weeks.

Daily trade volumes for palladium futures in the first 10 days of March as traded on the CME averaged 40% less than that reported in the prior 10-day period of late-February, 5,483 contracts versus 9,240 contracts respectively. Palladium investors appear to be searching for direction in the markets much the same as equity investors have since the sharp sell-off that occurred in late-January into early-February.

Growth forecasts for the world economy as cited above from the OECD should be supportive of both palladium and equity prices, nevertheless, any further stock market corrections would leave palladium vulnerable to additional losses. But for the near-term, palladium prices may be expected to continue to trade in a sideways pattern with further challenges of the $1,000 an ounce resistance level likely, and a move towards $1,020 an ounce possible once metal investors have digested this week’s Fed decision and accompanying comments.

The market for palladium sponge remains tight and in backwardation with short-term lease rates improving somewhat recently but still quoted at 6-7%. 

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About Key Metal Refining

Key Metal Refining (KMR) buys scrap catalytic converters as the raw material source for its platinum group metal sales generated through its recovery and refining process. KMR’s controlling partner is DOWA Metals and Mining Co. America,  a wholly owned subsidiary of DOWA Holdings Co, Ltd.

KMR de-cans catalytic converters at its plant in Hainesport New Jersey. The material is further refined and smelted by DOWA in Japan. 


Company Name: Key Metal Refining, LLC
Contact Person: Jennifer Smith
Phone: 609.261.1471
Country: United States